There is an incredible ta-do going on at the RT forums. Maybe, you've heard of it. Maybe, you haven't. Let me recap. Carol Stacey of RT reviews asked if there was really a market for M/M erotic romance read by women. Since then, it's been a non-stop festival of reality checks bouncing.
I'll skim over most of the biggies that have been debunked on the forums.
No, most pedophiles do not read M/M fiction. Nor are they gay men, usually. There are studies to debunk that one.
No, erotic romance is NOT the same thing as erotica. I've written articles on the subject. So have others.
No, most M/M authors aren't writing it JUST because of the success of Brokeback Mountain. In fact, many of them have been writing it for more than ten years. Some more than thirty.
No, M/M is NOT only gay men writing for gay men. Yes, that does exist, but there are several genres of M/M that is written by both men and women (mainly women) for the enjoyment of men and women. For some of the best, you might want to check out Morgan Hawke, Jet Mykles, Gregory L. Norris, and Kate Douglas.
No, e-books were NOT started just to give M/M authors a place to publish, because the respectable, traditional publishers won't touch them. Many of the NY publishers, like Kensington, DO have a M/M line these days...and established indie presses like Alyson have been around since the 1970s and 80s. That would be like saying e-books just evolved to give Wiccan/Pagan writers a place to roost, when Llewellyn has been around since 1901.
No, authors are not exempt from wearing their reader hats. In fact, most authors are VORACIOUS readers...and many of them read in genres they don't even write in.
And...this one is rich... Sorry, I cannot believe that ANYONE on the RT forums has a direct line to any god in existence and can tell me definitively that I am going to hell on the express train.
So, let's look at a few of the bouncing reality checks left on this issue. I think I'll skip the one about demanding respect you aren't willing to show others. I've covered that before.
I'm still left with a biggie, looming on the horizon. And that would be?
Paying for reviews! Okay...let's take out the thinking caps here and actually dissect this idea a little.
Authors pay for ads to get exposure in popular venues. I pay to place banner and print ads, to get to conventions. No one has a word to say about it. It's a promotional expense.
Now, if the author was paying to get guaranteed a GOOD review, I could see the problem with it. Only those that could afford a good review would ever get one. But, what RT is doing is not that.
People who buy ads (well, except for some genres, but I won't get into that right now, since it's an entire blog of its own) are "guaranteed" review space in the magazine, but they aren't guaranteed a certain level of review (X number of stars for Y dollars). What you get for your review is the purvue of the reviewer who gets your book.
So, when you dissect it, what you are really getting is ad space A, your actual ad, and ad space B, the review, good or bad, whatever it may be. It gets you exposure twice in RT magazine. People PAY for exposure for their products, books or otherwise, on a daily basis. Why is it so distasteful to some that you "pay" to get that exposure in RT?
Well, I admit that it annoys me sometimes that the big boys don't have to place individual ads to get reviews and indie press/e-publishing does. I admit that it still comes down to "those who have get more." If I could afford it, I'd have a book a month featured in RT, but I can't. Still, there is nothing wrong with them reviewing the books they have ads for and then taking a few they don't, if they have space. It's an added bonus for advertising with them.
Reality check is definitely bouncing on this one, I think. Since we pay for exposure all the time...the marketing world thrives on that premise, there is really nothing wrong with RT's ad agreement, from that standpoint.
To be blunt, I've been told that even a bad review from RT sells books, and it's the exposure you're really after. I've never gotten a bad review from RT, but I'll take their word for it.